BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ACS CANADA
Gary has been working for ACS his entire career, starting in the London headquarters in 2001. His outstanding work at university earned him the prestigious title of ‘Student of the Year’, presented by the Guardian/Observer Association of Business Schools. Gary initially joined ACS as a broker in the Cargo department - his knowledge and passion for the industry proved invaluable, and he was appointed Cargo Sales Director of New York in May 2007. By 2010 it was clear that Gary was the right person to spearhead North America’s expansion, and opened the Toronto office in 2010 where he remains today, as Managing Director.
As the son of a pilot, Chris Leach has always had aviation in his blood. Starting out with Saturn Airways in the 1970s, Chris has experience of almost every aspect of the aviation business, from dealing with passenger flights all over Europe, to his role in Sudan in the early 80s with Transamerica Airlines, where he coordinated aircraft during the great famine transporting personnel and aid. He founded ACS in 1990 from the basement of his home in Kingston, and his knowledge of the aviation market won him several key contracts for passenger and cargo flights with organisations such as the United Nations. Deciding never to take a bank loan, but instead to grow the business organically, Chris re-invested heavily in the business and grew it from its humble beginnings to the leading global company that it is today. His key beliefs have always remained that personal service is what the airline industry is all about and that if you go the extra mile for the customer, they will always come back and, as a result, the business will grow. Chris has been honoured in recent years for his work in aviation, with two lifetime achievement awards, as well as being invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and been inducted into the TIACA Hall of Fame, alongside such luminaries as Fred Smith, the Founder Chairman of Federal Express.
COMPANY TREASURER AND SECRETARY
Christine began her career in the aviation business with Lear Siegler (American Avitron) and British Aerospace. Christine has worked in all administrative areas of ACS and has been a Director and Company Secretary since its inception. Until the arrival of Stewart Pitt in 2007, she ran the Finance Department, setting up the company’s accounting structure, payroll and later managing the computerisation of the accounts system. Until the creation of the Legal Department, she was also responsible for the corporate legal work, setting up overseas subsidiary companies in readiness for global expansion. With the ever increasing number of subsidiary companies to administer, she is now concentrating on her position as Group Company Secretary. She also chairs the ACS Charity Committee and participates in the company’s endeavours to develop its Corporate Social Responsibility.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Justin is renowned in the charter industry for his encyclopaedic knowledge of all things aviation. This, combined with his enthusiasm on the subject, has made him one of the most trusted and successful aircraft charter experts in Europe over the past three decades. Starting his tenure with ACS in 1992, Justin rose through the ranks to the position of Group CEO in 2013. He is a key member of the ACS & Mountfitchet Group (Holding Company) boards and was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2016. In his spare time he enjoys following his football team, Brighton & Hove Albion, and is a keen golfer. Justin lives with his wife and their three children in Surrey.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Ruan has been with Air Charter Service for more than 15 years and has held a number of key management roles since joining. Initially in the London cargo department he then diversified his knowledge and worked on the executive jets side of the business. In 2004 Ruan became President of North American operations before moving back to the UK and taking on the role of International Development Director, before moving on to become Group Director of Executive Jets. Having worked cross-functionally across global markets and a spectrum of departments, and with such an impressive and diverse range of knowledge, Ruan was appointed COO of Air Charter Service in 2013.
GROUP COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR
Justin is a highly experienced charter expert who counts some of the biggest names in the industry amongst his clients. He started out in the charter world in the former ACS operations base in Ostend, where he became an expert in the ground operations essential to running a successful charter. He then moved to the sales side of the business where this experience was used to great effect and his practical knowledge has proved extremely valuable to the ACS board. Justin was appointed Group Commercial Director in 2013.
GROUP EXECUTIVE JETS DIRECTOR
Since joining the company in 2004 Andrew has been instrumental in the growth of both the private charter division and the North American offices. Originally working in the London office, Andrew moved to New York in 2008 where he initially was head of the local private charter team, before being promoted to president of ACS North America, with responsibility for all four regional offices on the continent, accounting for over $150m of the company’s annual revenue. In 2014 Andrew returned to ACS Headquarters in London to take charge of all private aircraft operations worldwide.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Stewart Pitt is another hugely experienced member of the ACS management team. Stewart trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1997 and then spent six years at British Airways. Stewart initially joined BA as an Internal Audit Manager and later became the Financial Controller for the airline’s catering operations worldwide. He then spent two years at the London Stock Exchange managing the company’s financial planning and forecasting processes as well as being involved in several M&A projects. Stewart joined ACS in 2006 and has overseen the financial aspects of the group’s globalisation, implementing financial processes and controls in all ACS offices. Stewart’s knowledge and experience has proved invaluable since his arrival and has resulted in ACS being one of the most financially secure charter companies in the world.
GROUP MARKETING DIRECTOR
Having worked in all three main divisions at ACS - the Private, Group and Cargo departments – in both operations and account management, James moved to the Marketing department in 2007. He was appointed Group Marketing Director in 2011 and has grown the department in both size and effect exponentially. James is responsible for all marketing strategies, including the implementation of new customer technology.
GROUP LEGAL DIRECTOR
Since joining the company in 2013, Omar has further streamlined and built upon the group’s diligent and thorough compliance procedures. He continues to play an important role in maintaining service quality as ACS continues to grow globally.
Charles was a Managing Director at Fitch Ratings, where he worked for 30 years, prior to retiring in August 2013; he now has a consulting role with Fitch. He was Managing Director responsible for the management and operations of Fitch’s credit ratings of global Financial Institutions. Charles played an important role in the international development of the company and was responsible for Fitch’s analytical and business activities in Latin America for 25 years. Charles is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (FCA), having qualified with Champness, Corderoy, Beesley & Co. before becoming an Audit Manager at Coopers & Lybrand.
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